SAN ANTONIO — More than two decades ago, Monica Fonseca set her sights on becoming a doctor, “all of my years I was pre-med”.
That is until a conversation with her pastor's wife.
"My pastor’s wife kept telling me you have that gift,” Fonseca said.
Her gift is her ability to reach peoples’ hearts and relate to anyone, at any age; a gift perfect for a teacher.
"And I just said let me explore that and I just started taking those courses."
Courses that put Fonseca on a new path. She’s never looked back, teaching at multiple school districts over the last twenty years.
“I worked with teachers who were my teachers. They were like my mentors, but they were my co-workers. I taught my brother."
And now Fonseca bounces from class to class, “I kind of teach the teachers,” she said.
She’s a math and science instructional coach at Lackland Elementary School.
"I don’t have one classroom. I basically just help the whole campus. " Fonseca added that she works with teachers to come up with creative strategies.
“We’ve tried to find activities in math and science where students can use things from the house... they’re learning about counting or adding or they’re learning about fractions.. and I help the teachers come up with ideas. 'Ok, we can teach fractions using food!'"
"She’s very creative,” said Principal Teresa Leija, “She always brings that touch."
Her creative touch isn't her only talent, her colleagues say her work ethic is hard to match.
"She is the epitome of dedication really. She’s here early, she’s here late,” said colleague and former EXCEL winner
Even when her personal life took a devastating turn, Fonseca remained dedicated to everyone around her.
"My fiancé had a headache and it was unusual,” Fonseca said, "come to find out he had a massive brain tumor. In a matter of 48 hours, he had to have it removed. It was very scary. He couldn’t walk. He could talk but he didn’t even know my name."
Fonseca stayed by her fiancé’s bedside at the hospital, while managing to juggle her school work, as well as helping her colleagues and students at the same time.
"I would do these things during the day back and forth."
And everyone has taken notice. Not only did she win our KENS 5 Credit Human EXCEL Award for Lackland ISD (with $1,000 dollars she said will be used to help pay medical bills), but she also recently received more great news.
"We just got the news. [My fiancé ] has finished chemo. We were so excited about that. He’s my rock.”
And she is clearly their rock at Lackland
"I credit a lot of the successes at the elementary school to what she does. She’s an amazing coach,” said Lackland ISD Superintendent Dr. Burnie Roper.
"I will never leave Lackland,” added Fonseca, “this place is the best of both worlds. I get to work with the teachers. I get to feel like I’m a part of this administration and making those decisions, but I get to see the kids every day."